Ordinary Days

Our dog Bear sleeps on his dog bed while our cats Boo and Trixie sit on the futon on April 10, 2022. Original: _Z721143.NEF

If this seems like a picture of an ordinary living room, it is, and it’s why I love it. When we first adopted Bear we kept him in our large bedroom as he would sometimes chase the cats. I wasn’t too worried he was going to physically hurt them but he needed to be calm around his furry masters so they wouldn’t live in terror of him. He had lived with cats before but I didn’t see much indication of it and felt if he didn’t get better quickly we wouldn’t be able to keep him.

I took the picture in April on a day off when I brought him into the living room and had him stay on his bed and let the cats come as close as they wanted. The cats grew up with Ellie so were willing to give him a chance but not if he was going to chase them. The first day I had to keep him on a pretty short leash but on this the second day he was much more relaxed. When he fell asleep I got up and sat on the couch and Trixie came in and sat behind me, eventually even Boo worked up the courage to sit beside me. When they were both a little more relaxed I got up to take a picture of the three of them, and while I did Boo stole my spot. Some traditions must be upheld even in the presence of a scary dog.

I’m thankful to say Bear’s cat manners did improve as he got used to the little ones and he eventually earned his freedom to roam the house. With Boo I would feed both he and Bear some of Boo’s favorite treats and Boo would come right up next to Bear for those, which helped them get used to each other. I had to laugh when one day I came home from work and both Boo and Bear came to meet me at the door, with Boo standing underneath Bear, a sign of how far we had come. Trixie was less afraid of him from the get go but I knew she was getting used to him when she was sleeping on my legs and Bear came in and gave her a good sniff and then licked her in the face and she took the indignity in stride.

Samwise 2007 – 2022

A close-up of our cat Sam sleeping in my lap on February 21, 2022. Original: _ZFC0381.NEF

Oh this hurts. Sam’s heart failed and we had him euthanized a little while ago. He died peacefully, curled up in my lap and purring until the anesthesia took hold. I’m glad he didn’t suffer and that we could be with him at the end, but his loss is going to sting for a while. This was my view for most of the past fourteen years, Sam asleep in my lap. The background behind him changed at times, as did the cast of characters curled up beside him, but he was my constant companion throughout his life.

I’ll write more later when the tears aren’t streaming so steadily.

Say Hello to Bear

Our dog Bear relaxes on the back porch on the day we adopted him on April 3, 2022. Original: _CAM4276.ARW

Say hello to Bear, we adopted him this afternoon and are keeping him in our bedroom at the moment so the cats can come and go as they please but have the rest of the house to themselves while we all get acquainted. Which is good because at one point Bear chased Boo, I think more playfully than aggressively but understandably Boo was terrified and so I spent a while with him getting him to relax. He’s sleeping in his usual place wedged in between me and the edge of the couch but he still jumps at every unfamiliar sound.

Hopefully as the excitement of the first day wears off and Bear comes to understand his furry masters are to be obeyed and protected this won’t be an issue but we’ll keep an eye on it as obviously we won’t put the cats at risk. He did great with Sam later in the day, and lived with cats previously, so there’s reason to believe we can keep him on the straight and narrow.

He needs to learn some commands and get better at his on-leash behavior but the same was true of Ellie when we adopted her. The difference is that at 100 pounds (!!!) he’s much larger than she was, and she was big for a lab! Those things don’t worry me as he seems to want to please us so it’s just a matter of teaching him what we want.

He’s a very sweet fellow, we had a lot of nice moments already even in our short time together. We had kept a couple of Ellie’s hedgehogs and as Bear I played with them I had to hold back the tears watching him run around, squeaking them with joyful abandon. When my wife went to bed I went in to kiss him goodnight and his tail started wagging as he woke and saw me approach.

He was sleeping on my side though!

Pups Old and New

Our dog Ellie basks in the sun beside the dragon statue at Irvington School in Portland, Oregon on December 10, 2017. Original: _DSC7223.ARF

I’ve posted similar shots of Ellie before, sitting beside the dragon at Irvington School in December 2017. Originally I meant to post it to mark the four year anniversary of leaving our beloved Portland, and when that date passed the anniversary of our arrival here in the desert, but I was pretty tired after work each night and the posts went unwritten. I was in the middle of writing it yesterday under the better-late-than-never philosophy when my wife came in and said the black lab being fostered up in Cave Creek she had her eye on was still up for adoption, and he was cat friendly, and we could meet him that afternoon …

… and we pick up 6 year old Bear in an hour to bring him home. Rather than nattering on and never getting this up I’ll just say how grateful I am for every moment I got to spend with the goofball above and how much I’m looking forward to getting to know the newest member of the family.

Old Cat, New Trick

Our cat Boo looks at our cat Sam as Sam sits in a cardboard box on December 22, 2021. Original: _ZFC0082.NEF

Boo looks at Sam in one of his Boo Boxes, both a little proud that for once he could teach big brother a new trick instead of the other way round, but also realizing the box he wants might now be occupied. Fortunately for Boo Sam only sleeps in the boxes on occasion, plus Boo generally prefers the smaller boxes while Sam only likes the big ones.

From December when I was playing around with the Nikon.

At Least It’s Friday …

A close-up of our cat Boo sleeping smushed up against the couch on March 5, 2022. Original: _ZFC1673.NEF

If it looks like he’s being punished this is how Boo chooses to sleep many evenings, when I sit down on the couch he wedges himself into the gap between me and the edge of the couch. The Great Boneless Boo excels at squeezing into tight spots but the problem is when I’m working on my laptop my right elbow wants to go where a smushed up Boo resides. Sometimes he’ll curl up on my legs as he is now, the other night when his siblings came in to join him the problem became that with a Sam / Trixie / Boo train running down my legs there was no lap left for the laptop.

Good problems to have.